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Parel (66) leads Senior Players by one

By Associated PressJuly 13, 2018, 11:41 pm

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. - Scott Parel walked off the course thinking somebody would overtake him. Instead, he's halfway to his first PGA Tour Champions victory - and it happens to be a major.

Parel grabbed a one-stroke lead in the Constellation Senior Players Championship, shooting a 6-under 66 in Friday's second round to reach 11 under.

The 53-year-old Parel made seven birdies after starting the day two shots off the lead.

''I've been playing good golf, right there in contention a lot of times,'' he said. ''And that helps. The more you're up there, the more comfortable you are. If you do it once every few weeks, then maybe you get a little bit uncomfortable. But I feel good right now.''

Parel remained in the lead when Jeff Maggert three-putted from about 15 feet to bogey the par-4 18th. That left Maggert (68) tied with Brandt Jobe (67) at 10 under in the fourth of five majors on the tour's schedule.

Three-time champion Bernhard Langer (67), defending champion Scott McCarron (68), Kenny Perry (70) and Vijay Singh (67) were in a pack two strokes off the lead. Illinois coach Mike Small shot 71 and was three shots back.

This is just the second time Parel has led after a round in a PGA Tour Champions event. He shared the first-round lead at the 2017 Chubb Classic before finishing tied for 10th.

Parel did not play in college at Georgia, and worked in computers for 10 years before turning pro. He missed the cut in four of his five career PGA Tour starts. On the over-50 tour, he has 13 top-10 finishes in 52 starts. That includes ties for second at the Mitsubishi Electric Classic near Atlanta in April and Principal Charity Classic in Des Moines, Iowa, last month.

Parel pulled ahead even though he was a bit off target with his driver. He finished with a birdie on 18.


Full-field scores from the Constellation Energy Senior Players


''I think if the conditions stay the same, you're going to have to shoot the same kind of scores that I've shot the last two days to have a chance to win,'' he said. ''The course is in perfect shape. The greens are perfect, makeable speed and smooth. So guys are going to make a lot of birdies out here.''

Maggert holed out from a greenside bunker to birdie the par-5 15th and reach 11 under. But he finished the round on a sour note, with that bogey on 18 after he gave himself a chance to birdie the hole.

''Trying to leave it below the hole there is a premium, and I just got a little too far above, and the putt trickled by a little bit,'' he said. ''The greens were a little bouncier and choppier this afternoon late in the day with all the traffic from the morning rounds. Anyway, putting feels pretty good, so I'm not worried about it.''

McCarron bogeyed three holes, including the 18th. In the Senior Players at Caves Valley near Baltimore last year, he overcame a six-shot deficit to beat Langer and Jobe by a stroke.

McCarron is facing surgery at the end of the season to repair a tendon running through his right ankle. It's been bothering him for about a year and a half, though he said it hasn't impacted his game.

He came into this event with seven top-10 finishes on the season and a victory last month at the American Family Insurance Championship in Madison, Wisconsin. McCarron then tied for 52nd at the U.S. Senior Open in Colorado Springs.

''I'm playing decent,'' McCarron said. ''Just made a few too many mistakes today, especially the last hole. But I'm hitting a lot of good shots, and I'm putting pretty well. I like this golf course, so I'm certainly in the mix going into the weekend, which is where you've got to be. I mean, you can't go out and win the tournament the first two days, but I've certainly put myself in a good position.''

The 52-year-old Small has never won on the PGA Tour Champions. He is not a tour member and made the field because he performed well over three events where he received sponsors' exemptions. He began the day tied with Perry for the lead and remains in contention.

''I'm happy,'' he said. ''I had more hard putts today. Yesterday, I hit it in spots where you can make putts, and these greens are very difficult from that point of view. If you hit it in the correct spots, you can make putts here all day long. But if you just get a foot or two on the other side of that, they're hard to read and they're fast and you're playing defensively.''

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McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

12/1: Tony Finau

14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

20/1: Francesco Molinari

25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

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Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

“I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

“I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

“I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.

“Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

“Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

“I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

“It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

“Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

“She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

“I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

Her overall assessment of her day?

“It was a great experience,” she said.

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.

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Knox relishes round with 'mythical figure' Woods

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 8:48 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Russell Knox was expecting the worst and hoping for the best Thursday at The Open.

Playing with Tiger Woods tends to have that effect.

The native Scot received a treat earlier this week when he saw his name on the tee sheet alongside his boyhood idol, Woods.

“Felt good out there, but obviously my swing, it was just like I had too much tension,” Knox said after an opening 73. “I just wasn’t letting it go as normal. First round with Tiger, I expected to feel a little bit different. The way I felt was better than the way I swung.”

Knox said that he was nervous playing alongside Woods, a player he’d only encountered on the range. “He’s almost like a mythical figure,” he said.

But after a while, he settled into the rhythm of the round at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I thought it would be worse,” he said, “I feel like I should know what I’m doing. It’s cool playing with Tiger, but I’ve got to get over that. I’m here to win, not just enjoy my walk around the course.”

Knox probably had more interaction with Woods than he anticipated, if only because the third member of the group, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, keeps to himself because of the language barrier.

“It’s kind of a blur,” Knox said. “It’s like, Oh, I’m chatting away with Tiger here like normal. I don’t even remember what I was saying.”

There have been countless stories from this year as the next generation of players – guys who grew up watching Woods dominate the sport – get paired with Woods for the first time.

It was no less special for Knox on Thursday.

“It’s nice for him to say things like that,” Woods said, “and we enjoyed playing with each other. Hopefully we’ll play a little bit better tomorrow.”